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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 202004982 - One Employee Is Killed, Two Are Injured In Furnace Explosion

Accident: 202004982 -- Report ID: 0317000 -- Event Date: 05/26/2007
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31071660005/27/20073325Isg Plate Llc
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 26, 2007, Employee#1, Employee #2 and Employee #3, three steelworkers, were working immediately adjacent to a 165-ton rated electric arc furnace (EAF). It is believed that a stray electrical arc created a significant internal water leak on one of the water-cooled shell panels. The spraying water accumulated within the furnace. When the temperature of the molten steel was finally up to pouring temperature (approximately 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit), the employees found that the furnace's tap hole was blocked. There were several unsuccessful attempts to unblock this tap hole. The employees' final attempt involved putting a lit oxygen lance down into the tap hole and burning clear whatever was causing the block. During this activity, the EAF violently erupted. After the bath of molten steel solidified, it was observed that it contained a largely intact bale of scrap steel. This bale likely had been stuck to the furnace shell and above the molten steel bath. This bale probably fell into the molten steel bath in the same area where the water had been spraying and accumulating, causing the accumulated water to be engulfed by the molten steel. This water rapidly turned to superheated steam that developed vast pressure. The release of this pressurized steam when it broke through the surface of the molten metal caused the furnace to explode. Each employee received partial and full thickness steam burns over large parts of their bodies, as well as internally. Employees #1 and #3 were hospitalized. Employee #2 died the following day. At the time of the incident, the three workers were not wearing high-heat coats and hoods. The employee using the oxygen lance was blown completely off the furnace spout platform and into the pit approximately 30 feet below. There was no guardrail on the platform at the time of the incident. There were no written procedures for clearing a blocked tap hole. There were no written procedures for what to do when there was significant water in the furnace.
Keywords: burn, maintenance, steel-melting furn, protective clothing, work rules, steam, explosion, molten metal, pressure release
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 310716600 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 310716600 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
3 310716600 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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